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One of the most popular competitive shooters in the world is getting another big tournament.

The Esports Championship Series (ECS) announced today that its third season of professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive play will begin on February 18 with the ECS Open Qualifiers. ECS prides itself for giving its players the chance to have co-ownership of the league and “true collaboration in league activities.” The esports market is worth $493 million. According to Newzoo, Counter-Strike: GO is the most watched esport on livestreaming site Twitch, which delivers a majority of esports broadcasts on the web.

The Open Qualifiers will have teams each from the North America and Europe regions qualify for the ECS Development League, where they will join another four teams that the league invites.

“The top two teams from both North America and Europe will then battle the relegated teams from the ECS Season 2 in a best-of-five match,” ECS detailed in a press release sent to GamesBeat. “The winner of each showdown will earn their place in Season 3 and the chance to compete alongside CS:GO powerhouses Astralis, FaZe, Cloud9 and OpTic Gaming, along with the opportunity to opt-in to a co-ownership stake in the ECS league. This arrangement gives participating teams financial support and benefits, akin to the co-ownership arrangements of professional sports leagues like the NBA.”


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The finals for ECS’s second season took place last October and featured a $750,000 prize pool.

ECS is also bringing back its Community Caster Challenge, which allows amateur esports casters a chance to call live matches from the league. If you’re interested, you can email with your first and last name, contact email, Skype link, Twitch channel URL, and other social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

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